Sadder and Sadder Music Is Officially the Next Big Thing
Well, well, well. It appears that Queen Lana Del Rey is really making an impact on the overall trends of music because according to this study, pop music is actually getting sadder.
Two researchers for The British Psychological Society have concluded that your parents’ worst fear is actually a reality: music doesn’t sound like it used to. But, in our opinion, that’s a good thing.
The study looked at the BPMs and tempos, as in whether they were fast or slow, of the most popular 1,010 pop songs from Billboard’s year-end lists from the last 50 years. The researchers concluded that the amount of slow and sad sounding songs produced has literally doubled over the last fifty years.
The happier sounding songs are typically of fast tempo and in major key, and the sad songs are slow and in minor. But some songs just don’t just fall into the happy or sad category. The researchers said songs can also be emotionally ambiguous, so they could have a fast tempo, but minor key or the reverse.
There was also a decrease in happy-sounding songs and an increase in emotionally ambiguous songs. These researchers also analyzed pop lyrics from 1980-2007, and found that there was a decrease in music about social interactions and positive emotions, but an increase in angry and anti-social words, focusing more on the individual experience.
Those weren’t the only trends the researchers found though. Apparently, songs are now longer than they used to be, and there are more females making music than there used to be. Yay feminism! So, the cultural and societal changes over the last 50 years are also contributing to that change from happier tunes to sadder ones.
“Our study sheds light on links between long-term cultural change on a macro social scale and emotional expression, perception, and responding,” the researchers said. “at least in relation to music. As such the findings improve our understanding of the individual in relation to society, and how culture is shaped by the emotional needs and preferences of individuals.”
So, thanks Lana, from the bottom of our truly emo hearts, for contributing to the sad music wave overtaking our lives and radios.